Guns

Hillary Clinton's Assault on the Second Amendment

| by FrontPage Magazine

By Claude Cartaginese

According to Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton, Mexico’s raging drug war is
largely the fault of the United States
. As she tells it, illegal drugs have
been flowing from Mexico into the U.S. to feed “our
insatiable demand
” for those substances. In exchange, American
weapons—including a variety of military assault-type munitions—have been
streaming south into Mexico. “Our [America’s] inability to prevent weapons from
being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the
deaths of police, of soldiers and civilians,” Clinton said last week. On
Friday she
elaborated
:

“The guns that are sold in the United States, which are illegal in Mexico,
get smuggled over our border and arm these terrible drug-dealing criminals so
that they can outgun these poor police officers along the border and elsewhere
in Mexico. So we've got to help out here. We can't stand by and say, Well, you
know, you guys just do the best you can, when we, unfortunately, are the market
for drugs, when a lot of the money is laundered in the United States back into
the hands of the drug kingpins, and when the weapons have come from our country.
So I think recognizing the co-responsibility is just stating the
obvious.”

There’s only one problem with Clinton’s version of the story: it’s nonsense.

How many American guns are in fact headed south to the Mexican cartels? If
prominent Democrats are to be believed, nearly all of them. Thus, according to
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, “70% of the weapons in the
hands of the drug cartels are coming from the U.S.” Democratic Senator Dianne
Feinstein of California, who contends that restricting gun
availability
in the U.S. would help prevent violence in Mexico, cites an
even higher figure of 90%.
(Notably, Feinstein got a concealed carry permit for herself and once vowed to
defend herself from a terror group called the New World
Liberation Front
by stating that if its members tried to harm her, she “was going to take them with
me
.”) Not to be outdone, Nita Lowey, the far-Left congresswoman from New
York, states that fully 97% of all weapons find
their way to Mexico via the U.S. Those are indeed staggering numbers. But there
is reason to doubt their accuracy.

William Hoover, assistant director of field operations at the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, argues that no such volume of
American-made weapons are headed south. Says
Hoover
, “The investigations we have, that we see, for firearms flowing
across the border don’t show us individuals taking thousands of guns a day or at
a time flowing into Mexico.” His claim is buttressed by the fact that Mexican
authorities have refused
to provide
U.S. law-enforcement officials with the serial numbers of weapons
confiscated from drug cartel members—a likely indicator that the weapons were
obtained not from American gun shops but rather from illegitimate sources
elsewhere.

An important Fox
News story 
further discredits the wild claims of people like
Napolitano, Feinstein, and Lowey. According to this report, more than
two-thirds of the guns
recovered at Mexican crime scenes are never even sent to the U.S. for tracing, because their markings make it
obvious that they came from somewhere else. Moreover, a large number of the
recovered weapons lack serial numbers entirely and thus cannot be traced to any
location. In the final analysis, we find that a mere 17 percent of all the guns in question
can actually be traced to
America.

And what of Mexico’s role in the gun violence that occurs within its borders?
Before Felipe Calderon became president and called on the military to crack down
on drug traffickers, the Mexican government’s attempts at eradicating the drug
trade were laughable. In 1997, for example, the Bill
Clinton
administration announced that it had made the Mexican government a
“full ally” in the war on drugs. President Clinton enlisted the assistance of
Mexican General Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, who at the time was the head of the
Mexican National Institute to Combat Drugs. Rebollo was invited to secret
meetings at the White House and participated in high-level conferences with the
CIA and the Drug Enforcement Agency. He was fêted as a “man of absolute
unquestioned character.”

Unfortunately, the honeymoon was short-lived, as Rebollo was thereafter
arrested for taking bribes from one of the largest Mexican drug cartels. Despite
Calderon’s efforts to combat such corruption, it remains a hallmark of the
Mexican government—from the low-level law-enforcement officer who moonlights as
a hit man for the drug cartels, right up to highly placed politicians on the
cartel’s payroll. This is no secret. Our law-enforcement knows it. The average
Mexican citizen knows it, too.

Here’s another example. Last week, a rogue soldier/drug-gang leader named
Octavio Almanza Moreles killed
retired Gen. Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñones
and 10 other military men.
Quiñones had recently been hired by the Cancun city government to help weed out
corruption and revamp the local police force. When Almanza and several others
were arrested, the operation netted 23 assault rifles, 20 handguns, 23 grenades,
two grenade launchers, and a rocket launcher, among many other items.

It is likely that little, if any, of that arsenal originated in the United
States. Assault rifles, grenades, grenade launchers, etc. are not available in
American gun shops for purchase by the general public. The Mexican drug cartels,
with all of their money and sophistication, would be disinclined to risk
smuggling small arms from the U.S., especially when they can easily purchase far
more potent weaponry on the black market, or from sundry countries around the
world (such as Venezuela or Iran), or from Hezbollah-type
terror groups wishing to destabilize North America. For that matter, they can
easily “procure” their weapons from less-than-savory elements within the Mexican
military—weapons that, in all likelihood, did originally come from the U.S., but
through legal channels.

Moreover, the drug cartels can afford to transport their purchased weaponry
into Mexico from overseas using their own fleet of aircraft, ships, and
submarines, which can land unimpeded on the cartels’ own remote airfields or
docks. The notion that all of this military-type weaponry is somehow finding its
way into Mexico via the southern United States is simply not logical.

Hillary Clinton surely comprehends this, and her statements need to be
understood in context. She is a key player in a presidential administration that
is passionately opposed to gun rights. The President himself is quietly
launching an assault on the Second Amendment. This is the same President who
formerly served on the board of the anti-gun Joyce Foundation; who
supported a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns; who
proposed a 500-percent increase in the excise taxes on firearms and ammunition
to discourage the purchase of those items; who voted in support of legislation
that would have banned privately owned hunting shotguns and target rifles in
Illinois (where he was a state senator); who voted, in 2004, against legislation
intended to protect homeowners from prosecution in cases where they used a
firearm to thwart a home invasion; and who appointed Attorney General Eric
Holder
, who helped craft the “Federal Assault Weapons Ban” of 1994 which banned the
sale
of numerous models of
semi-automatic firearms
for ten years. (Holder, it should be noted, now seeks to
reinstitute that ban
.)

The Obama
administration has turned the Mexican government’s gun-violence problem into a
“blame-America-first” crisis in order to advance a gun-control campaign that
will be spearheaded by the likes of Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton. The
gun-control lobby fully understands this and consequently has
lauded Obama’s quest to prevent civilians from obtaining so-called “assault
weapons”
(which, as noted above, are often nothing more than semi-automatic
shotguns). American citizens at large also understand this instinctively, as
evidenced by the
frenetic pace at which they have been purchasing guns and ammunition
ever
since Obama was elected President last November.

When Hillary Clinton laments that America’s “incapacity” to limit gun access
has “unfair[ly]” led people to hold “the Mexican government and people
responsible” for the violence of its drug cartels, she is merely laying the
groundwork for further encroachment on Americans’ right to bear arms. Her modus
operandi is to depict the U.S. as the cause of gun violence in Mexico, and to
characterize her mission as a pure-hearted quest to save innocent lives.

But in reality, the Clinton-Obama approach will have a number of
undesirable consequences. It will hurt the United States by imposing
ever-stricter gun-control laws, thereby making it increasingly difficult for
law-abiding Americans to protect themselves. It will be ineffective in curbing
the violence of the Mexican drug cartels, who clearly can obtain the guns they
desire from a host of sources. And, ultimately, it will hurt Mexico by failing
to pressure the Mexican government to acknowledge the real cause of its problems
and to institute meaningful reform.

Finally, there is the absurdity of
Hillary’s recent assertion that it is “not right” to hold the Mexican
government accountable for the security of Mexico. Mexico is not Lebanon; it
isn’t supposed to have roaming paramilitary groups terrorizing people within its
borders. If it is unable to gain control over such groups, it is by definition a
failing state, however many weapons may enter the country by way of the
U.S.